Hey! If you’re in NYC, make sure you swing by the Big Imagination Burning Man fashion swap on Thursday, July 25th. Tickets here.
I have to start this whole Burning Man outfit ideas post by saying that I am not a model. This is obvious, I know.
But I feel compelled to reiterate this information because there are, in fact, plenty of models at Burning Man. There was a whole passel of them at the camp right next door to ours, where the rich male campers members paid for them to attend. I mean, that’s sort of missing the point of Burning Man, and unsurprisingly, the vibe at that camp was very unfriendly.
But I digress. What I’m trying to say is I hope you will be kind, and assess my outfits without comparing them unfairly to the first images of professional models that come up on Google or Pinterest when you type in “Burning Man Outfit Ideas.” Assess them on the merit of their creativeness, and how flattering they are on my bootylicious, 5.2″ body, which, by the way, I worked out ridiculously hard before Burning Man, so that is as fit and healthy as this lady is going to get.
Anyhoo, before Burning Man I put together a post detailing some fashion and accessories that are sustainable and ethical. But I wanted to finally show you what sustainable festival outfits I put together and how:
Outfit 1: Burn Night Goddess
This was my Burn Night outfit, which is to say my favorite, most special outfit that I wore the night the Man burned, a veritable bacchanalia. The headpiece is by the artisan company Object & Dawn. (I wrote more about them and their founder and friend Saida here.) I wore the whole headpiece in its entirety, but you can disassemble it and make it shorter, or add in other pieces. I added a collar made of sea shells that I bought during my trip to the Dominican Republic (exact store here), a vegetable-tanned leather top from H&M’s Conscious Collection (2014, I think?), and two fringe arm bands I bought from an online store (now offline) that sold supposedly ethical festival fashion, though they never gave any details and I ended up feeling uncomfortable shopping there. An organic cotton cape (you can see the tie in front) completed the look.
This amazing gold garter-style hip pack is made by fairly-paid artisans in Bali of goat and sheep leather that is a byproduct of the food industry there. It’s by Ritual Fashion, which has a whole collection of gorgeous, high-quality Burning Man fashion. Definitely recommend! The bottoms are by the ethical brand Rogue Minx. The lace-up boots are conventional. The Icelandic sheep’s wool cape is by Titania Inglis. At night, when it gets super cold, underneath I layered a sexy hoodie that zips up over the face to protect you from dust, by Ritual Fashion, made by fairly paid artisans of Lenzing Modal, a cellulosic fabric that is certified rainforest-free. (Learn more about cellulosic fabrics and how to choose eco-friendly ones.)
Outfit 2: Wandering the Desert
I bought the gold chain bra a few years ago at a party, I can’t speak to how sustainable or ethical it is. That applies to the gold mermaid bottoms as well. I believe they are made in the U.S. by a local designer, but they are synthetic fabric. The gold face chains I bought from an Indian owned shop in Midtown. And the gold coin necklace I bought secondhand off of Vestiaire Collective. Unfortunately, Fortress of Inca doesn’t make my boots anymore, because they are incredibly comfortable! And ethically made by Peruvian artisans, too. My aviation goggles are made by a heritage French company. The gold garter-style hip pack is made by fairly-paid artisans in Bali of goat and sheep leather that is a byproduct of the food industry there; it’s by Ritual Fashion.
Outfit 3: Temple Burn
For Temple Burn evening, when the mood is quiet and sacred, it’s expected you’ll wear white. I bought this handmade tunic, made of 100% cotton, off of Etsy. It was incredibly versatile – I obviously wore it several times! The hip pack made from upcycled bicycle tires is by Beatrice Holiday. She doesn’t sell it anymore, but other Etsy makers do! And the leather bikini top is a vintage one.
Outfit 4: Our Playa Wedding
On Wedding Wednesday, Illich and I hosted a small playa wedding for our friends out in Deep Playa, in front of a giant origami crane. The wind was blowing so hard, creating a neary white-out blizzard of dust, that I was afraid our friends wouldn’t find us. But they did, and we got “married” in front of about a dozen people in an intimate Burning Man ceremony!
The skirt is an upcycled parachute by Deborah Lindquist. The lace top is actually a bodysuit I got from Azura Bay for my real wedding night that I rewore. And the veil is also from my legal wedding. I loved reusing it, though by the end it was so dusty I decided to donate it to the Kostume Kult camp for another bride to wear next year! I made the floral antlers myself four years ago, from antlers I bought in Michigan, and odds and ends I bought in NYC’s fashion district. The gold garter-style hip pack is made by fairly-paid artisans in Bali of goat and sheep leather that is a byproduct of the food industry there; it’s by Ritual Fashion.
Outfit 5: Moon and the Sun
The black feather accessory is from a German maker on Etsy, but I have to admit that with time, I’ve grown more uncomfortable with how much this looks like appropriation of Native American feathers for women. May I recommend this amazing alternative? The moon bodysuit is by Rogue Minx, the hand gloves are also from Etsy from upcycled materials that I bought several years ago, the long tutu I bought from an NYC designer (I forget the name now) and the parasol I bought in an import shop in NYC, but you can buy a similar one here. My insulated water bottle is by S’well, and I carry it in a hand-crocheted water bottle sling I got on Etsy.
Outfit 6: Captain of the Runway
Near the end of the week, our Burning Man camp, Big Imagination, hosted an event called “Runway on the Runway,” where camp members and other people with excellent costumes strutted their stuff. I liked my costume, so I jumped in. I really got into the fun of pounding down the runway to the beat!
I got this tiny white, two-piece number with fringe and these great goggles at Style Lend‘s annual Burning Man swap. A lady there sold them to me for $50 totally unworn, a total steal! I bought the wig to protect my hair from the playa dust, but you could rent a similar one if you would like to be more sustainable. The hat was swag from our Burning Man camp. The silver boots are conventional. And I had two silver star nipple pasties, as well, which were completely conventional. I think my star-shaped nipple tan has finally faded, four months later.